Applauding Alumni: Michael M. Wild

Applauding Alumni:
Michael M. Wild,
Diploma − Accountancy and Financial Administration, 1935

Senior Partner, Berger & Wild

1989 Distinguished Alumnus At 99, Michael Wild was the oldest graduated member of Walsh College. He remained connected to his alma mater, joining the 90th Anniversary Homecoming celebration at the Troy campus on Sept. 22. Mr. Wild died on December 15, 2012. Below is an article and interview for our Fall 2012 Walsh Journal.

Wild grew up in Detroit and began his studies at Walsh Institute in the fall of 1931. His first teacher was Mervyn Walsh, for bookkeeping.

Wild recalled a speech that Walsh gave to the 1931 graduating class: “He said, ‘This profession of accounting, especially public accounting, was not for a sissy.’ He said you have to roll up your sleeves and burn the midnight oil. But he also said, ‘I promise you that there is a great future in public accounting.’ And he was right.”

Wild worked in the stock brokerage business before entering public accounting. He and Walsh discussed stocks during the Great Depression. “Mervyn had blue chip stocks like U.S. Steel, and advised hanging onto them during the Depression,” Wild said. “As a result, he died a wealthy man.”

In 1934, Wild went to work as a junior accountant for Harvey H. Berger. He became a partner under the firm name Berger & Wild. Today, he goes to the office in Troy once a week to work on estate tax planning for clients.

A founder of the alumni association, Wild kept the College informed of his achievements over the years. In the 1972 alumni newsletter, he reported: “My only claim to fame – a hole in one on the 165-yard No. 4 hole at the Desert Inn Country Club, Las Vegas International Gold Cup Tournament, Nov. 2, 1971.”

Wild is a charter member of the President’s Club, which recognizes donors who give $1,000 or more each year to the College, and he established the Berger & Wild Scholarship for accounting students. At the 65th Commencement ceremony at Ford Auditorium, the WCAA presented him with the 1989 Distinguished Alumnus Award for community service and excelling in his career.

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